Thursday, September 23, 2010

Double Trouble

I was prepared to continue touting the Democratic Party's chances in the next election, until this and this. So the Dems punt on the incredibly popular vote to let the Bush tax cuts on the rich fade while keeping them for the rest of us, and the Obama Administration loses the gay vote for at least this cycle maybe more. WTF -- DC insider thinking?

Here's the thing: we want something to fight about. The Teapublicans have something. Even the establishment Republicans. They want power. They want to defund the entire Federal safety net, roll us back into the Robber Baron era. But Obama and the Dems aren't rallying the base. They aren't whipping up the enthusiasm. They aren't making me want to fight for them -- not today.

We still remember how El Presidente Bush didn't care what the law was, he just did what he and puppetmaster Cheney wanted. I don't know the details behind the Executive Branch obligation to defend laws the Congress has passed against judicial review, but why not just let it slide? Bush would have, if he didn't believe in it.

Yep, the GOP are worse. The Dems are vexing, but they aren't equivalent, not if they let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire and take the Middle Class out of the hostage position. The Republicans have already brought down our banking and housing system, and their only ideas are the same ones that got us there. Paul Krugman's review of their "Pledge" (I prefer the furniture polish) is blisteringly accurate on the direct threat to our Republic if they regain power:

On Thursday, House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.” The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s tax proposals.

True, the document talks about the need to cut spending. But as far as I can see, there’s only one specific cut proposed — canceling the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Republicans claim (implausibly) would save $16 billion. That’s less than half of 1 percent of the budget cost of those tax cuts. As for the rest, everything must be cut, in ways not specified — “except for common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and the defense budget are off-limits.

So what’s left? Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

Drown it in a bathtub. Right.

And then there's that GOP propensity to paint our President as The Other. Bitter Palin spewing "Barack Hussein Obama" as her evil tentacles grow. Quitter Governor Reality Politics Star as harbinger of the apocalypse.

As Jon Stewart said in response to a question from Bill Reilly, Obama ran as a visionary but appears to govern as a functionary. I don't think that is entirely fair, and I think in retrospect the Obama Administrations accomplishments will add up to visionary.

But did he have to file in support of DADT?

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